How JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle Is Aimed At Hardcore Fighting Gamers

By Robert Ward . April 24, 2014 . 5:31pm

At Bandai Namco’s recent Global Gamer’s Day event, Siliconera spoke with General Manager Yusuke Sasaki about the development of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle. This is a fighting game based on the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga and anime series, and—like the name suggests—comes off incredibly zany.

 

During our conversation, Sasaki provided insight on how JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle tries to recapture the feel of its source material, and Bandai Namco’s hopes for the game in the West.

 

How did the idea of a JoJo fighting game come about?

 

Yusuke Sasaki, General Manager: There was a previous game, but this is the first time that CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco games have paired up to offer their take on the series. The manga has such a unique character pool, and everyone has these crazy abilities in the form of Stands [spirit energy made manifest], and so [we thought] using that in the context of a fighting game might be a really interesting spin on the anime.

 

Jojo’s had a long run in Japan, but how did the decision to bring it to the West come about?

 

As you may or may not know, the JoJo manga has come out in several story arcs. The first three arcs have been turned into an anime that’s recently been released in Japan and, starting this month, will be available in the U.S. via Crunchyroll.

 

The visual style is really unique—like cell shading that’s been sketches instead of painted. How did you determine what the game would look like, visually?

 

Definitely one of the main draws of JoJo is the incredibly unique and stylish design of its characters. So, the goal of the game’s art direction was to match that while also pairing it with the kind of 3D cel-shaded look modeled by games like Street Fighter IV. We came to the author of JoJo with several different proposals and finally settled on the style in the demo you just played.

 

I talked to the CEO of CyberConnect2 earlier about how closely the studio works with [Naruto author] Kishimoto-sensei to produce the Ninja Storm games. How closely do you work with Araki?

 

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle was produced in very close collaboration with Hirohiko Araki and Shueisha, just as Ninja Storm was with Kishimoto. Araki’s feedback was so thorough that he’d often advise us on editing the nuances of a character’s movements.

 

The characters in JoJo, more than other fighting games, I think, rely on these refined, unique movements to characterize them. Zeppeli is really flamboyant, for example, while Jotaro is cool and composed. Those personality traits needed to come through in the way they’re controlled and they way they carry themselves on screen.

 

What kind of modes are there in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure?

 

There’s Story mode, which covers the overall arcs of the manga. There are Versus battles online and offline, and new for the U.S. version is Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode is meant to be an easy to start mode you can drop into as soon as you start the game, reminiscent of some of the older, more traditional fighting games.

 

JoJo has a large following in Japan, but how do you expect the game to be received in the west?

 

While we are focusing on the fighting game market as a whole, we’re really targeting the hardcore fighting game crowd. JoJo has a lot of complexities and the characters themselves unique subtleties. There’s been collaboration with pro fighting gamers to tweak the game to a pro level.

 

We’re aware that there are a lot of fighting game tournaments and championships in the U.S., and we’d really love to see JoJo make it there. For people unfamiliar with the series, I think this is a great starting point. Sure, it’s catered towards the hardcore crowd, but the art style is really appealing and the characters are endearing enough, we think, to appeal to a broader audience.

 

Is there anything you’d like to tell a more general audience before they pick up the game?

 

We’re well aware that JoJo doesn’t have anywhere near the same familiarity with an overseas audience as much as it does in Japan, but, we hope that this will be an excellent introduction to people who have never experienced Jojo, and they can enjoy it for its strengths and flashiness, aesthetics, enjoyable and challenging game mechanics, and so on, before moving on to the anime or the manga.


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  • Crevox

    I’m pretty sure the game wasn’t aimed for hardcore fighting gamers… the game was riddled with imbalances and isn’t very competitive. As someone else said, it’s mostly just to fans of the series.

    • Franggio Hogland

      Pretty much yeah and add onto of that the framerate issues…yeah buying this solely for the erotic poses.

    • KyoyaHibari

      Emphasis on “was”. They’ve tried to keep fixing their mistakes and the commands are more conventional of hardcore fighters, and the engine has some depth to it, the problem is the presentation in bringing the depth to life with the lack of combo challenges, cancel practice and all that. Still rough around the edges, but I think it’s still possible to categorize it as one.

      • Bunzi

        At it’s core, it’s also a mostly silly, fanservice-y game, what with the environmental hazards and the over the top super move animations and such. I suppose of Smash Bros can do it it’s not impossible, but it’ll be tough to salvage a competitive fighter out of what it began as.

        • KnifeAndFork

          Dead or Alive has always had environmental traps

        • Dynami

          The stage hazards, from what I could tell in the demo, weren’t all that effectual? Or random, for that matter. That’s a far cry from the competitive issues Smash Bros. stage hazards presents. In addition, I’m fairly certain they can be disabled (although I know not what the norm is for this game. I’m not sure if it’d be necessary).

          Cinematic animations are kind of a staple in fighting games. Capcom’s moneymakers certainly haven’t skipped out on them.

          That said, I’m not entirely sure if the game will take off. I enjoyed the demo, but I’m not too sure if the game is really… sharp enough to get much of an edge in the fighting space. I hope it does at -least- find a niche playerbase that makes the most of what it has to offer as a fighter, though.

        • Hunts Rattata

          The hazards in this game are actually pretty well-designed – they’re triggered by knockdowns instead of a timer, so they only happen as a result of player actions. Even if a hazard gives one player an unexpected advantage, it won’t be in any way a random advantage.

          The hazard on the Coastline stage that gave you 3 free meters was pretty dumb, but they’ve since toned it down a lot.

        • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

          At it’s core the environmental hazards can be shut off. The rest of what you said is moot, of course it’s a “fanservice-y” game, it’s fucking JoJo’s. CC2 clearly mentioned that it was a JoJo’s game first and a fighter second. The game is exactly what it’s supposed to be and was intended to be, for the fans.

          Bamco is just trying to broaden their audience by saying this, but really it’s silly because most people that are into fighters are already interested in this.
          Sadly in the FGC these days..anything that isn’t Capcom or is anime is bashed to the high heavens.

          • neo_firenze

            Capcom is obviously a major focus from the FGC (and rightly so, given what Capcom has been doing for the genre consistently for over 2 decades). But I think it’s unfair to say that the FGC bashes anything else:

            - FGC has been more open minded and accepting of Killer Instinct than the wider gaming community.

            - King of Fighters XIII has been getting solid support in the competitive scene over the past few years, probably more than any SNK game ever in the West (even including the Neo glory days).

            - BlazBlue and Tekken are staples of the tournament scene. Even if they’re not as popular as Capcom games, they’re a fixture of the scene.

            - Injustice (and before it MK9) have had decent tournament representation and haven’t really been “bashed” by the community.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            All true, but then we get Smash Brothers threads where other posters will bash folks for wanting to play more than one version of their favorite character while kicking a buddies face in. Or getting judgmental over playing choices which aren’t ‘top-tier’ characters. Those are things one looking at the FGC from the outside can call a bit of an overreach.

          • neo_firenze

            Sorry for the delayed reply, but I’d say the Smash community is really not the same as what’s generally thought of as the “FGC”. Smash is Smash, with all the good and bad that comes with it. And while the FGC has been resistant in the past to even include Smash and recognize it as a fighting game, even then there has been some grudging acceptance and respect by the FGC of the Smash scene in the past couple years.

            The traditional “FGC” has indeed been Capcom-dominated, but also accepting of other games, fostering niche scenes, and use of non “top-tiers”. The highlight is always gonna be Street Fighter, but I’ve experienced no ill will toward the smaller set of people who might be into playing Melty Blood, Garou, MK9, whatever… I’ve never been criticized for only playing Rose in the SF4 games or Dudley in Third Strike despite those characters not being “top tier” and rarely showing up in top tourney finals play, in fact more often I might get complements for using a less played character.

          • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

            Let me rephrase that then..the “online” FGC.
            But it’s quite the opposite with SFxT whereas it has a stronger online community.

          • Bunzi

            Don’t know what all the hostility’s for – they’re trying to market it as a competitive fighter in the US, for some reason. I like Jojo and all, but I don’t really care about fighting games that don’t have depth, and that’s what they’re trying to say this one has all of a sudden, completely contrary to what they said when it hadn’t come out in Japan yet.

          • Dobiqwolf

            Maybe you should read less and play more of the game, the game has depth, it went from a fan service game/unbalance fighting game (August 2013) to a decent fighting game (December 2013), CC2 listened to feedback and fixed and adjusted the balance and gameplay, how do I know, I bought the game on release day in August 2013 and still play it to this day, also the EU/US version seems to have extra balance tweaks

  • Lynx

    This is hilarious.

    Because CC2 said it was a JoJo game first and foremost and a fighting game second. And it’s a damn fine JoJo game.

    A good fighting game however…..

  • Arcana Drill

    I like JoJo, i’ll probably buy it,
    buuuut i dont think its really aimed to hardcore fighting gamers, i mean if you analyse it as a JoJo game is good, as a fighting game is bad, exploitable features, inbalancing, etc….

    • sadhappymad

      I think there isn’t that much to exploit I’ve been playing the game for a while and there counters to mostly everything in that game. ps infinites were removed

  • RawrWata

    Weird, CC2 said it was aimed more towards the fans of the manga/anime.

    • Adrian Duran

      I think he meant for a Western Audience, especially one that seen neither

      • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

        He did, people don’t seem to get that. lol

  • Arz

    This should’ve been a PS4 game. The graphic’s already beautiful, but the framerate, goddamn. If it can’t hold 60fps, it can never be a hardcore fighting game. It’s a fun game,especially for JoJo fans but it can never be a legit competitive.

    • The Watcher

      Games like this you have to go where the money is. either push a game out on a console with only 7 million units or 80 million+?

      • Arz

        But JoJo is big in Japan, I think if it was released on PS4, it can easily guarantee the 1+ million sales it had WITH good technical aspect since shortly after the release, the sales went down when people badmouthed it. and for the west, with the few AAA games that PS4 have, I can see people picking this game especially because of its ‘bizarre’ style.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          I think if it was released on PS4, it can easily guarantee the 1+ million sales

          There aren’t even any PS3 games in Japan aside from Final Fantasy that have crossed 1 million. There is no way in hell this would have gotten anywhere near that figure.

          • Arz

            well on usual case, but this is JoJo, i’m not trying to sound like a fanboy here, but Japan really go nuts about it.

          • KuroNathan

            If the jojo game on the ps3 (with more owners) wouldn’t break 1 million, what makes you think jojo on a smaller selling system would break 1 mil?

            Edit: Not to sound mean, just pointing out that it makes sense a same proportion of buyers would buy the game. If they do an upgraded version for ps4 or a release on pc *HINT HINT NAMCO* that’d be awesome

          • Arz

            I don’t think it’s a matter of ratio, I think it’s more like ‘how many of these 80+ million people want to buy this game’ If there’s a 1 mill people want to buy JoJo, then those 1 million PS4 owners are gonna buy JoJo. Kinda like how software sales on Vita right now.

          • KuroNathan

            But it is a matter of ratio though, its unreasonable to think that PS4 owners are bigger jojo fans then PS3 owners unless if you can make a connection between more disposable income and an inclination to buy more jojo then any other game series.

            If we break down the numbers its like saying out of 1000 ps3 owners, 20 bought jojo ASB, it would make sense that out of 1000 ps4 owners if jojo was on the ps4 then 20 would buy it. but given the number of ps4 owners then it’s more like there’s 100 ps4 owners and 2 would buy it

          • Arz

            that’s my assumption of course, but like I said this might be a special case because it’s JoJo. To the fans which is especially large in Japan, this game is part of the ‘revival project’( which is along side the anime ). And to us this really ‘FUCKING FINALLY’ type of situation, and the hype was exceptional.

          • Herok♞

            The massive flaw in this reasoning is the PS4 hasn’t even sold a million in Japan so this would require at least the same amount people who bought the PS3 version to get the PS4 and the game on top of everyone who already has one to buy it

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            I think it depends on the JoJo merchandise they try to sell.

            Like KuroNathan said, this game didn’t even hit 1 million in Japan, not even 500k (close though). So I do not think a PS4 exclusive would hit 1 million either.
            http://www.siliconera.com/2013/09/06/jojos-bizarre-adventure-all-star-battle-is-a-hit/

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Nah, I know what you meant… I just think you’re overestimating Japan’s market. It’s been in decline for a while now.

            For example, One Piece is far more popular than JoJo, and Pirate Warriors—arguably the most popular OP game of the last few years—hasn’t managed to hit 1 million in Japan alone.

        • KnifeAndFork

          There’s not even 600,00 Japanese PS4 users yet.
          And many Jojo fans were irate about the handling of this game (the f2p mode and some other things.) Many copies were returned quickly despite selling around 490k copies…

        • Dobiqwolf

          How did the sales went down exactly?
          they sold Half a million copies within 1 week of release, that’s AAA numbers and this game isn’t one.
          I understand your frustration from buying a PS4 and not having games to play but this wishing feast I keep reading from you and other people is getting stupid, the PS4 came out in february this year in Japan so you are not going to get Japanese company releasing games until later this year.

          • Arz

            dude, people were re-selling the game. Also, there’s report where the sales when down like, 90% after first week due to badmouthing. Also the reason I want it to be on ps4 is for the performance, that’s all.

    • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

      Game doesn’t even run at 60FPS

      • Arz

        yeah, that’s what i said.

      • Dobiqwolf

        So why is this a problem?

        • Arz

          A legit fighting game HAS to be running on 60fps. There’s a lot of reason but mainly because fighting game players sees the game in frames. They count every move’s animation frames when playing. For example, x move has x frames, so they know this move is possible to combo,safe on blocks or punishable on blocks, there’s also this thing called 1 frame link which if I’m not mistaken only possible when a game runs on 60fps. When a fighting game doesn’t run on 60fps this technical and gameplay depth is gone. Worst when the framerate isn’t even stable.

          • Dobiqwolf

            Sorry for the very late reply, I am afraid you just talked out of your backside (no disrespect intended).
            it doesn’t matter if a game runs at 30 or 60 fps, the frame mechanism doesn’t change, to put it with numbers 1 frame at 60fps = 16.6ms, 1 frame at 30fps = 33.3ms but you cannot get the same game running at different speed so it is totally irrelevant.
            To take your example about 1frame link, in a game running at 30fps the link is always at the same point, you just have more time to press the button than in a game running at 60fps.
            So as you can read this technical and gameplay depth is not gone, The frame rate not being stable is a real problem and I will give you that BUT they fixed it for the US/EU version, I have spent a lot of time playing the game in the last 2 weeks and that was the thing I noticed first compared to the JP game, NO MORE SLOW DOWN!!! (I am sure some slowdown are still occurring but now it is more like the exception than the norm)

        • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

          It’s not a problem, just people are complaining like the game is supposed to run at 60fps. At a competitive level this game plays pretty fast. Most people have no idea what they’re doing.

    • Dobiqwolf

      But it is already a legit competitive game…
      And what frame rate have to do with hardcore fighting game…
      About your PS4 comment, the game was first announced on July 5 2012 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of jojo (which means the game was in production from at least february 2012), the PS4 was first announced in february 2013 and came out in japan in february 2014, 2 years after the production started on the game, this isn’t a AAA title with multi milions $ and hundreds of staffs working on it…

      • Camilo Gomez

        I’ve seen you defending the game as a competitive one and I’m here to back you up. After the patch, it feels a like a different experience. Game is definitely legit and hell-a fun to play.

  • Triplicity

    So why was it hardcore broken then

    • 赤い血潮のハバネロ Kushina

      You’re just pandering to what everyone else is saying, that shit was fixed not even a week after it was out. Then it was polished even more. We’re getting it straight as it is now in Japan.

  • leingod

    Whatever. All I know is that I’ll have fun with it… love em crazy, cinematic anime fighters. I wonder if Lisa Lisa will be available at launch?

    • Camilo Gomez

      Yeah. She will be DLC and looks gorgeous.

      • leingod

        Not at launch, though… she’ll be available next week as far as I know.

        • Camilo Gomez

          Thanks for clarifying that! I forgot to mention it! :D

  • Honest Liam

    I know I brought this up before, but I hope this game will receive much better rep from western let’s players. Those Max & TBFP vids were painful.

    • Jadfish

      that’s because they are fighting games fans first and JoJo fans second. The game was a JoJo game first and a fighting game second.

  • KnifeAndFork

    They should consider a PS4 version complete edition (all characters unlocked) running at 60fps

  • SeventhEvening

    “While we are focusing on the fighting game market as a whole, we’re really targeting the hardcore fighting game crowd.”

    Literally the opposite of what CC2 repeatedly said about the game. I know it said they’re tweaking it, but given what CC2′s goal was when they made the game (a game that is just for Jojo fans) and what the Japanese version plays like, I feel like they went wrong somewhere.

    • Asura

      If they targeted that, somehow they did an accidental 180 before firing.

      Or, they just can’t make a competent fighter but make brawlers with amazing visuals, as their track record shows quite clearly.

      • SeventhEvening

        I think this is just the US side. CC2 said it was a game with Jojo fans at heart designed to be pure fan service. They said it is supposed to be fun, not competitive.

        But on the US side, apparently they’re hoping it will be popular among fighting fans, which is a bit ludicrous. I know the old Dreamcast/Playstation game was popular with fighting fans, but this is more similar to the Naruto games than that.

        I’m surprised it got localized at all, but I’m pretty disappointed at how it has been handled so far.

  • Ben Jammin Hobson

    Can’t wait to pick this up today!

  • Jadfish

    “How JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle Is Aimed At Hardcore Fighting Gamers”
    “There’s been collaboration with pro fighting gamers to tweak the game to a pro level.”

    I had hoped for details. What I saw of the japanese version made me want it as a JoJo fan, but at the same time made me cringe as a fighting game player due to how slow and unbalanced it was.

    • Jadfish

      oh, and do we still have to friggin unlock all the characters? If I buy a JoJo game, I want-no I NEED to be able to play as Dio from the first second of playing it

      • Asura

        Don’t get your hopes up. This is definitely on the brawler side rather than fighter.

    • Dobiqwolf

      The game isn’t like that anymore, CC2 patched the game and made it fun and balance, look on youtube for video dated from december 2013 onward (date for the latest patch) and you will see some good stuff

  • Göran Isacson

    Yyyeeaaah I don’t recall them saying that last time around. I kinda recall them saying very much the opposite. It is somewhat true they might have altered the gameplay a bit, but enough to make it viable for the “hardcore”? I am full of doubt.

  • fairysun

    I am just glad that other JoJo has video game too. The previous games are always about Kujo Jotaro and his stardust crusader arc.

    • leingod

      Are there more than one? I only remember the old Capcom game.

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        There’s one for the SFC/SNES, which is about JoJo Part 3 (Stardust Crusaders) so yes, it’s the same story the arcade Capcom game covered. I think this game was a point and click adventure-esque style of gameplay.

        There’s only one more other game that was also by Capcom. It was for the PS2, which covered JoJo Part 5 Vento Aureo. It was apparently supposed to be localized (there was a trailer) but unfortunately never did.

        edit: Oh man, I forgot. there’s also another PS2 JoJo game, by Bandai. That one covered Part 1 Phantom Blood. It looked similar to the Part 5 Capcom game, as in it’s a 3D action game.

        All of these were Japan only.

        • leingod

          Still, those are a lot of games … and not all are based off Stardust Crusaders!

      • Arz

        there’s 8 generations of JoJo. And the manga is still going.

        • leingod

          Yeah, I know… I meant the games :)

  • sadhappymad

    If Injustice and SxT made it in the competitive fighting game community I think jojo asb can too. I know the frame rate is an issue but I love to play it and if the game is fun enough for an audience to get behind isn’t that what matters.

    • colorblindnightmare

      To be bluntly honest, sfxt got in because of fairly strong mechanics and because blending two HUGE franchises brings those two communites closer together. ASB is a fun game, but it doesnt have the sway (or the brand) behind it to really make a splash.

      • KnifeAndFork

        Despite the gem system

    • Arz

      sorry dude, but the game basically needs a redone if it wants to be a legit competetive game. Right now it’s a fun ‘unbalance game’ and maybe exhibition match is the best it can go.

  • Ultramega

    Could it be someone made a decent adaptation of a Manga/Anime? Actually used to play this game back in 99 in Sydney was a good game. And this new one is just as good.

  • Spirit Macardi

    Wouldn’t be the first time they mis-marketed a title in the west and contradicted what the creator specified as the target audience.

  • RawrWata

    And my comment was deleted, joy!

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